5 ways brand collaborations with influencers will change post-CovidJuly 2021
In recent years, influencer marketing has become a potent channel for brands hoping to engage current and prospective customers. However, as we emerge from the grip of a worldwide pandemic, suffice to say that virtually nothing has escaped unscathed - and that includes influencer marketing.
So as we step boldly into the ‘new normal’, what’s the lay of the land for brand and influencer collaborations going forward?
1. The exponential growth of TikTok
One of the fastest growing apps of all time, TikTok’s gradual domination of the social media landscape shows no signs of slowing. While ever-increasing monthly user counts give you some idea of it’s growing popularity, the real headline here is the diversifying user base. Gen Z might have taken the helm in the platform’s infancy, but millennial usage grew significantly throughout the pandemic, and the number of 30+ influencers with accounts on the site is also on the rise.
"Millennial usage grew significantly throughout the pandemic, and the number of 30+ influencers with accounts on the site is on the rise"
2. Live streaming will become a go-to tactic
Stuck at home with little to no in-person socialising possible, many internet users tuned in to live streams to fill the void. Offering viewers the real-time exchanges (and real-world mundanities) we were missing, live streaming influencers built deeper connections with their audiences and enjoyed higher engagement levels as a result. In turn, brands capitalised on the opportunity to promote their products and services in new ways, and to offer their customers a uniquely convenient and interactive experience.
"Live streaming influencers built deeper connections with their audiences and enjoyed higher engagement"
3. Micro influencers get results
Whilst micro and nano influencers have a smaller follower count, brands who neglect them will miss out on far higher engagement rates than their more prominent peers, along with the fiercely loyal fanbases that support them. Recent influencer marketing research shows that 63% of consumers think nano and micro influencers are more trustworthy than macro and mega influencers.
"63% of consumers think nano and micro influencers are more trustworthy than mega influencers"
4. Brands become more conscious of influencers’ ethical track record
As conversations around social injustice and environmental concerns become more commonplace, brands will take greater precautions before engaging in influencer collaborations, whilst consumers will be similarly considerate over the influencers they follow.
For brands the stakes here are high, as choosing the wrong influencer, one with a shaky history on important issues, could do irreparable damage to a reputation that has taken years to build.
"Choosing the wrong influencer, one with a shaky history on important social issues, could do irreparable damage"
5. At the end of the day, influencers are here to stay
The fact of the matter is that influencers remain one of the most effective ways to affect purchasing decisions, brand perception and consumer behaviour. People buy into people and in a year that was defined by social distance, social media and its troupe of influencers rose to meet that need. Those connections will persist long after normal, real-world interactions are back on the menu.
For brands, increased budgets for influencer marketing, as well as a surge in newly created in-house influencer marketing roles have shown the trust that businesses place in the channel and its potential for driving more sales and an increased ROI.
"While in the past, short, campaign-based tactics were often preferred, brands will now have a renewed appreciation for the value of genuine human connections"
Guest author: Holly Morran, Marketing Manager for the UK at Cure Media, https://www.curemedia.com/
Illustration: Monika Sroga